‘Translation is amazing’ [book review]

Catching Fire: A Translation Diary by Daniel Hahn Translation is an art quite unlike anything else. For those who work in the field – and probably some who don’t – it is an endless source of fascination, frustration, and a particular kind of delight. Put a group of literary translators together in a room andContinue reading ‘Translation is amazing’ [book review]

‘Tarmac and tidiness’ [book review]

52 Factory Lane by Selim Özdoğan, translated by Katy Derbyshire and Ayça Türkoğlu Ever since I reached the final full stop of The Blacksmith’s Daughter, Turkish-German author Selim Özdoğan’s hauntingly beautiful tale of life in an Anatolian village, I have been looking forward to finding out how the story continues. Fortunately, as the Anatolian BluesContinue reading ‘Tarmac and tidiness’ [book review]

‘We look for the wrong things in the right places’ [book review]

Thirsty Sea by Erica Mou, translated by Clarissa Botsford ‘I get lost all the time / But I always know which way / the sea lies’. So reads one of the miniature poems scattered throughout the pages of Thirsty Sea, the restless, visceral and compulsively playful debut novel by Erica Mou. The Italian singer-songwriter’s forayContinue reading ‘We look for the wrong things in the right places’ [book review]

‘Whether it could be borne’ [book review]

A review of The Bureau of Past Management by Iris Hanika, translated from the German by Abigail Wender The Bureau of Past Management doesn’t exist, but, after reading Iris Hanika’s excellent novel of the same name, I certainly wish it did. This vast institution at the heart of the German capital – nation, even –Continue reading ‘Whether it could be borne’ [book review]

‘If you water dashed hopes’ [book review]

A review of Forty Lost Years by Rosa Maria Arquimbau, translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush Read just a few pages of Forty Lost Years and you’ll find it hard not to fall in love with Laura Vidal. Fourteen years old and an apprentice dressmaker, the narrator of Rosa Maria Arquimbau’s overlooked masterpiece hasContinue reading ‘If you water dashed hopes’ [book review]

‘A petted, butterfly girl’ [book review]

A review of The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett There is so much fantastic contemporary literature out there that it can be difficult to remember also to look backwards. Thank goodness, then, for publishers like Persephone Books, whose elegant grey covers hold stories by brilliant but often forgotten female writers of the twentieth century toContinue reading ‘A petted, butterfly girl’ [book review]

‘A complicated journey in small stages’ [book review]

A review of A Long Way From Douala by Max Lobe, translated from the French by Ros Schwartz Lying on the west coast of Africa, surrounded by Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon is a country of 27 million people about which I’m ashamed to say I know almostContinue reading ‘A complicated journey in small stages’ [book review]

‘Those carefree, glittering summers’ [book review]

A review of The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Selim Özdoğan, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire and Ayça Türkoğlu Between 1961 and 1973, nearly 900,000 Turkish men and women left their homes to work in West Germany. This constant stream of migration was the result of a deal closed by the two governments; Germany badlyContinue reading ‘Those carefree, glittering summers’ [book review]

Independent Press Profile: Istros Books

A series in which I profile my favourite independent publishers: some of the most exciting addresses when it comes to finding original ideas, literature in translation and voices that are underrepresented in the mainstream. Each one has so much to offer and is more than deserving of support – buy directly where you can, orContinue reading Independent Press Profile: Istros Books

‘Now is the time for madmen to rise’ [book review]

A review of We that are young by Preti Taneja I do enjoy a challenge when reading, and Galley Beggar Press is usually happy to provide one. This time it came in the form of Preti Taneja’s We that are young, an undertaking that is nothing if not ambitious. Dense, raging and often extremely discomfiting,Continue reading ‘Now is the time for madmen to rise’ [book review]

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